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Computer science faculty awarded patent for cybersecurity technology

Three faculty members from The University of Tulsa’s Tandy School of Computer Science and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering have been awarded a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for their innovation in cybersecurity technology. Tandy Professor of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology John Hale, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Peter Hawrylak and Associate Professor of Computer Science Mauricio Papa have developed technology termed a “Compliance Graph” to help industries and utilities better manage their regulatory requirements and ensure they are staying up-to-date on required inspections and maintenance. This routine activity is critical in many industries, especially utilities, where non-compliance can result in major fines or the closure of plants.

The Compliance Graph system provides formally validated recommendations about these requirements, including a detailed description of how each requirement is met or not met. The patent, U.S. Patent Number 10,185,833, describes a process by which a user can efficiently determine whether modifications to a plant will result in the plant no longer complying with regulations. For cases where non-compliance is determined, the invention will further identify what the issues are and provide insight on how to fix those items.

This technology was developed as part of a TU cybersecurity research grant, sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The process can be applied by any company requiring compliance with a set of regulatory guidelines, including finance, insurance and utility companies. Current compliance efforts are quite involved and require significant amounts of time and man-hours to complete while prone to errors and overlooked items. This often leaves companies playing catchup. However, the new TU technology will alleviate that by reducing the time and cost needed to evaluate regulatory compliance, thereby enabling companies to take pro-active steps to address issues before they become major problems. The Compliance Graph technology is available for license from The University of Tulsa.